TENNIS

Raducanu: US Open win shows the strength of women's tennis

Emma Raducanu made history by defeating Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final on Saturday and is hopeful it is the first of many more battles to come.

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Raducanu: US Open win shows the strength of women's tennis
Sarah Stier AFP

Emma Raducanu said her shock US Open victory shows how strong women's tennis is after she won Saturday's final against Leylah Fernandez in straight sets to become the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam title.

The 18-year-old, ranked 150 by the WTA before beginning her tournament in New York some three weeks ago, prevailed 6-4 6-3 against fellow debutant finalist Fernandez.

Victory in Saturday's final caps a remarkable and life-changing couple of months for Raducanu, who also reached the last 16 of Wimbledon before pulling out of the competition due to medical reasons.

Raducanu: "Every player in the draw has a shot at winning any tournament"

Raducanu is the youngest women's grand slam finalist since a 17-year-old Maria Sharapova took the title at Wimbledon in 2004 and she feels the women's game is in strong hands.

"First of all, I really want to congratulate Leylah and her team – she played some incredible tennis and has beaten some of the top players in the world," Raducanu said in her on-court interview as she was handed the trophy by the legendary Billie Jean King.

"The level was extremely high and I hope we play each other in many more tournaments and hopefully finals.

"It shows the future of women's tennis and depth of the game is so great, every player in the draw has a shot at winning any tournament. 

"I hope the next generation can follow in the steps of some of the legends, for example Billie Jean right here."

Raducanu the first British woman to win grand slam since 70s

Raducanu reacts after beating Lelyah Fernandez at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.

Raducanu did not drop a set in her remarkable run at Flushing Meadows as she became the first British female to win a major tournament since Virginia Wade on home soil at Wimbledon 44 years ago.

Wade was in attendance for the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium – as was Tim Henman – and Raducanu will now be out to match or indeed better the success of the three-time grand slam winner.

"It means so much to have Virginia here and also Tim, British icons and for me to follow in their footsteps... it gave me the belief I could do it."

Raducanu proved too strong for world number 73 Fernandez with a perfect mix of power and precision that saw her hit 22 winners to her opponent's 18.

Only twice did Fernandez break Raducanu and the British teenager won 67 per cent of points behind her first serve.

"Leylah is always going to play great tennis and fight, that is why she is in the final, I knew I would have to dig deep," Raducanu said.

"As for this three weeks in New York, I would say having such a supportive team, the LTA my agent, and everyone back home watching on TV, thank you so much for your support over the years.

"Thank you for making me feel so at home from my first qualifying match, you have spurred me on in some difficult moments and I hope me and Leylah put on a good match today."